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Bright spots that boost attainment

On April 28-30, 2019, philanthropists, policymakers, educators, and community leaders joined together in Greensboro at the Proximity Hotel to learn about and discuss the work being done and the work to be done to orient North Carolina’s students, educators, and leaders towards readiness and attainment. For the next two weeks, EducationNC will be sharing content from Bridge.

Last year, I had the pleasure of traveling across North Carolina with Anita Brown-Graham, a professor at the UNC School of Government. She created ncIMPACT at the university and hosts a weekly UNC-TV show of the same name.

Brown-Graham was tasked by the myFutureNC commission to highlight innovative programs across the state that had helped boost educational attainment. The result was a project called “Bright Spots,” which included a UNC report that detailed 10 different programs and an EdNC video series.

At Bridge, Brown-Graham interviewed the directors of three of the programs: Pamela Gould, who runs STEP in Rocky Mount; Jason Terrell, who runs Profound Gentlemen in Charlotte; and Casey Steinbacher, who runs Made in Durham. After, she brought them all together to share lessons learned in their work to boost attainment. Watch the interviews with all three below. 

These programs all take different approaches but share a common impact: they help increase the educational attainment of North Carolina citizens. The myFutureNC commission, a group of business leaders, politicians, philanthropists, and educators, set a new attainment goal for the state in February. The goal is for 2 million 25- to 44-year-olds to receive a high-quality credential or college degree by 2030. That’s about 66% of working-age adults. In 2016, about 47% of this age group had some form of postsecondary attainment.

Robert Kinlaw

Robert was director of multimedia for EducationNC. He is a journalist and award-winning documentary filmmaker in the Triangle. Robert attended both public and private grade schools in North Carolina and graduated from the Media and Journalism school at UNC-Chapel Hill. He has produced video content for The News & Observer, ABC11-WTVD, UNC-Chapel Hill, The News Reporter and more. His short documentary Princess Warrior received an Excellence in Filmmaking award at the 2017 Carrboro Film Festival. Visit his website at